The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWL)


The Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS) has been used heavily as a measure of the life satisfaction component of subjective well-being. Scores on the SWLS have been shown to correlate with measures of mental health and be predictive of future behaviors such as suicide attempts. In the area of health psychology, the SWLS has been used to measure the subjective quality of life of people experiencing serious health concerns.


The SWLS is a 7-point Likert style response scale. The possible range of scores is 5-35, with a score of 20 representing a neutral point on the scale. Scores between 5-9 indicate the respondent is extremely dissatisfied with life, whereas scores between 31-35 indicate the respondent is extremely satisfied. The coefficient alpha for the scale has ranged from .79 to .89, indicating that the scale has high internal consistency. The scale was also found to have good test-retest correlations (.84, .80 over a month interval). For a detailed psychometric description of the SWLS see: Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction with Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. journal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152.

Author of Tool:

Pavot, W., & Diener, E.

Key references:

Diener, E., Emmons, R. A., Larsen, R. J., & Griffin, S. (1985). The Satisfaction with Life Scale. Journal of Personality Assessment, 49, 71-75.

Pavot, W. G., Diener, E., Colvin, C. R., & Sandvik, E. (1991). Further validation of the Satisfaction with Life Scale: Evidence for the cross-method convergence of well-being measures. Journal of Personality Assessment, 57, 149-161.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (1993). Review of the Satisfaction with Life Scale. Psychological Assessment, 5, 164-172.

Pavot, W., & Diener, E. (2008). The Satisfaction With Life Scale and the emerging construct of life satisfaction. ournal of Positive Psychology, 3, 137–152

Primary use / Purpose:

The SWLS is a short 5-item instrument designed to measure global cognitive judgments of satisfaction with one’s life.

Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS)

Instructions: Below are five statements that you may agree or disagree with. Using the 1 – 7 scale below, indicate your agreement with each item by placing the appropriate number on the line preceding that item. Please be open and honest in your responding.

  • 7 – Strongly agree
  • 6 – Agree
  • 5 – Slightly agree
  • 4 – Neither agree nor disagree
  • 3 – Slightly disagree
  • 2 – Disagree
  • 1 – Strongly disagree
  1.         In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
  2.         The conditions of my life are excellent.
  3.         I am satisfied with my life.
  4.         So far, I have gotten the important things I want in life.
  5.         If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.


Though scoring should be kept continuous (sum up scores on each item), here are some cut- offs to be used as benchmarks.

  • 31 – 35 Extremely satisfied
  • 26 – 30 Satisfied
  • 21 – 25 Slightly satisfied
  • 20 Neutral
  • 15 – 19 Slightly dissatisfied
  • 10 – 14 Dissatisfied
  • 5 – 9 Extremely dissatisfied